BREAKING: Tesla Making Faster 2012 Model S, 0-60 In Under 4.5 Seconds

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Tesla Model S Alpha build

Tesla Model S Alpha build

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We already know a lot about the all-electric 2012 Tesla Model S sedan -- but at a press event ahead of tonight’s exclusive VIP event at the former Toyota NUMMI facility in Fremont, California, Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA] CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla was making a faster Model S for those with a sporty side.  

Cutting the brisk 0-60 time of the standard Model S from 5.6 second to under 4.5 seconds, the sportier version features the same 85 kilowatt-hour, 300 miles-per-charge battery pack found in the 2012 Model S Signature series. 

“That’s quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera],” joked Musk. “Not bad for an electric luxury sedan.”

The additional model, complete with enhanced powertrain to cope with the additional current required for faster acceleration, will be available from launch alongside the 120 mile, 230 mile and 300 mile 2012 Model S cars. 

But if you thought 300 miles was the maximum range a Tesla Model S could do, you’d be wrong. 

“We’re also going to be offering aerodynamic wheels that will enable 320 mile range,” Musk told us earlier. “There were some skeptics who said we couldn’t do a 300 mile range, but we’re going to do better than that. We’re going to offer 320 mile range, as tested on the EPA 2 cycle test.”

When the batteries are depleted, Tesla says even the 300-mile range Model S will be able to recharge from empty to full in under an hour thanks to its new direct current external charger. The 90 kilowatt units will be installed by Tesla at suitable rest-stop locations or hotels alongside arterial freeways such as I-5 between Canada and Mexico. 

On-board AC charging will be dealt with through either a single 10 kilowatt charger or two 10 kilowatt chargers. Tesla says the two options were developed after it realized that many of its existing Tesla Roadster customers did not use the full capability of its 17 kilowatt on-board charger, recharging instead at a more sedate 7 kilowatts or less. 

Tesla says it now has 6,000 customers who have reserved its 2012 Model S with deposits of $5,000 or more. If it sells each of the cars it has taken deposits on, that means Tesla will have sold out of the first year’s allocation of Model S sedans a whole nine months before the first one reaches a customer. 

We've already ridden the 2012 Model S Beta prototype, so make sure you read our first ride report as well as find out how the Model S is helping Tesla's stock-price stay high

We’ll also be telling you more about the Model S’ smart air suspension, 4G integrated data access and performance as well as talking to some of the very first Model S customers -- so make sure you follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter to get the very latest news on this much-anticipated car. 

Tesla Motors provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this news story.

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Comments (25)
  1. What driving range problem?

  2. NOW Mercedes and BMW and Cadillac can begin to sweat profusely.

  3. Yeah, if Tesla pulls this off it'll show just how badly the major manufactures are dragging their heels in developing EVs.

  4. I had seen a video where Musk states that they are working on a Model S Sport. Either way the Model S is going to be amazing.

  5. Wow - that's great news. Really hope Tesla pulls through on all its promise. I don't know when oil will really run out but ending our dependence on it is certainly important for our national security and economy. The sooner we move away from it the better.

  6. Never, approximately. But that's not the point. Consider that electric power is cheaper per mile. That makes it more efficient, and frees money/resources to do other things than move around.

    That's why EVs are a smart choice for the economy, and the world.

  7. It's 6600 now, and at >$50K per, that's $330,000,000 worth of business. Plus probably 20% for option and large battery purchases, at least.

    Not tea bags!

  8. With a 320 mile range, and a 0-60 in 4.5 seconds (fantastic), I don't think Tesla is going to be going belly-up as the experts predicted. Here is my prediction: "The Model S will out sell the Leaf," when Tesla brings the Model S to every state.

  9. People are not that rich.

  10. Yes there are allot of people who can't afford it, but there are plenty of people who can.

  11. Total cost of ownership (as measured by leasing plus fuel, etc.) put's the S at about the same range as a $35K car. Lots of market share there.

    As for comparisons to the Leaf, the key is that in value per dollar, the S wins hands down.

  12. Ugh -- typo. "puts the S", not "put's".

  13. Here is another prediction: Tesla is going to be the 4th largest auto manufacturer in America if we can stop the Republicans from cutting funding to green energy and electric cars and if we can put all those incentives that we are giving to big oil, coal, and natural gas to green energy research and production.

  14. They may even achieve that without government funding, it will just take longer. Hard to predict the future but Tesla is very ambitious and I certainly think they have a much better chance of long term success than Fisker.

  15. Actually, they'll probably do better without government funding and government interference. Governments tend to make perfectly reasonable the decision to build millions of Trabants.

  16. True. "Green energy" has nothing to do with Tesla, in any case. Tesla's cars are high value per dollar. Renewables are grotesque wastes of money, costing 2-4 jobs elsewhere in the economy for every "green" job created, e.g., and with unsubsidized costs of power production from 3-10X as high as conventional sources.

    It's stupidity on stilts.

  17. I wonder why all automakers don't just use transparent plastic wheel hubcaps. That way they can have aerodynamic wheels, but also have the pretty designs they think look good under the transparent plastic.

    If aerodynamic wheels improve the efficiency by 6.6 % I just don't get why my idea isn't on every car. it's fairly obvious really.

    Maybe it's actually more than hubcaps and it's some kind of system where they are squirting jets of air over the wheels to reduce drag.

  18. Your transparent plastic wheel covers would probably get scratched up fairly quickly and start looking like crap.

  19. Probably. They could also get dirt on the inside too and look bad. There maybe a scratch resistant coating they could use. Another possibility would be to use a texture transparent surface.

  20. Aerodynamics requires enclosed wheel wells, a boat tail, and clean surfaces on every side, including the bottom of the vehicle. It costs no less than the absurd, aero-stagnant designs propagated by artists posing as aerodynamicists. Indeed, the cars can be bigger and heavier and still be more efficient. Still, Tesla is coming into the light. I just hope they reach it in time.

  21. Vehicles also have to look good to sell, most people don't want a long boat tail. I agree there is room for improvement though.

  22. The S has a drag rating of 0.22, which is fabulous. The smooth underside is probably responsible for much of that.

  23. I hate to be the pessimist, but claims in this article just do not add up. How can Tesla afford to put up charging stations on I5 between Canada and Mexico? And why would that long stretch be of overall value to Tesla -- is this just a misleading claim? How does AC and heating affect range? No penalty reports of that deep drain on its battery.

  24. The charge stations only cost a few thousand each, and only a few dozen would be needed to cover most major freeways. As a marketing investment (easing of "range anxiety") it's an excellent application of $1 million or so.

  25. @Brian: Curious to know where you get a cost of "only a few thousand each" for DC quick-charge stations?

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